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Knox County Sheriff Asks Public to “Please, Be Patient”

The following statement was released by Knox County Sheriff Robert Becker to The Edina Sentinel on Friday afternoon, September 14, 2018:

At this time, the investigation into the incident at the Knox County School District, which was originally reported on September 10, 2018, remains active and ongoing.  As I’m sure everyone can understand, it is important that I obtain as much accurate information as I possibly can in order to assure that all parties involved are treated fairly and according to their rights under the law.  All incidents which have been or will be reported are being investigated and numerous interviews have been completed, with more scheduled for next week.  Simply because there is not a lot of information being provided to the public, that should in no way be interpreted to mean there is nothing happening in the investigation.

I would respectfully request the public to bear in mind that even once the investigation is complete, I will not be able to release the names of the offender(s) or the victim(s).  The parties involved are juveniles and therefore, are accorded certain rights under our legal system.  One of those rights is the right to not have his or her name released to the public.  As I understand it, these matters will all be handled through the Knox County Juvenile Court.  In many ways, the juvenile court is similar to the adult court system, which I believe we are all more familiar with, but there are also significant differences as well.  I hope everyone is able to keep in mind that juvenile offenders are not treated exactly the same as adult offenders.

I can tell you that in my opinion, the Knox County School District is acting according to the guidelines set forth for Missouri Public Schools and are not taking the situation lightly.  From the beginning, Administration and employees, everyone really, has been cooperative in my investigation and I have no reason to suspect that will not continue.

Finally, in recent days I have been asked by numerous individuals about different aspects of the investigation, I have been asked “Is this true?” or “Did that really happen?” and although I have declined to answer those questions, it is disturbing to me the amount of false and outlandish information that is circulating.  We live in a wonderful small community, but unfortunately one of the problems in a smaller community is the speed at which that false information is spread.  Regardless of what did or did not happen, I believe we should first and foremost remember that these are only children.  If exaggerated stories of what happened continue, it is likely to only be harder on the victims.  They may be forced to tell someone what actually happened, just to squash the story about what happened that isn’t true.  I hope we can find a way not to put them in that position.  Please, be patient.  Please, respect their privacy at this time.